Local Democrats this week endorsed West Hollywood City Council incumbents in the 2013 election.
On Monday the Stonewall Democratic Club voted 111-15 to support Mayor Jeffrey Prang and 89-38 for Councilman John Duran. The West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic Club tally on Wednesday was 70-9 for the incumbents.
Stonewall Democratic Club President Stephen Simon said "there is a strength in being an incumbent. ... Both Jeff and John are known entities to us."
The Stonewall meeting wasn't without controversy. Candidate Steve Martin sharply criticized Duran, which prompted club member Ed Buck to deliver a scathing critique of Martin.
"We've seen some ugly campaigning and some ugly speeches," Simon said in reference to Martin, who spoke against endorsing the incumbents. "I just don't think my membership responds well to that."
Martin reportedly chastised Duran for what he called a "misogynistic slur" against former state Assembly candidate Torie Osborn, according to WeHo News. Duran accused Osborn of stacking a Weho/Beverly Hills meeting with her supporters in order to secure the endorsement.
"My comments about Duran being a misogynist arise from his verbal assault on ... Torie Osborn, a long time lesbian activist and former executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Center," Martin said in an email to Patch.
He described an incident last year when Osborn received the Weho Dems' endorsement:
"Duran interrupted her acceptance speech saying, 'This is bullshit. We are not all lesbians.' I am not quite sure exactly what Duran was trying to accomplish with his tirade, but it was pretty bizarre. ... I understand an objection about the process, but what does 'we are not all lesbians' have to do with anything?"
Duran did not respond to a request for comment.
Buck, a longtime political activist, Weho resident and former council candidate, told Patch he was next in line to speak after Martin and felt compelled to respond.
"He has no case, so he's going to go off and personally attack a guy like John Duran," Buck said.
Simon noted that despite the club's support for incumbents, some 2013 challengers have potential for future political success.
"We interviewed some other candidates and we thought some of them were very good, and some of them needed to be a little more seasoned, a little more experienced," said Lillian Raffel, president of the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills Democratic Club. "The incumbents are very popular and well-liked, and people feel that they do a good job and don't deserve to be fired."
Prang, a former president of the West Hollywood Democratic Club, noted the advantage of being a familiar face to club members.
"The Democratic clubs are very much all politics at their very base," Prang said. "They are a lot of give-and-take, a lot of relationship, a lot of history goes into these sort of decisions."
Prang added that his opponents "often times like to dismiss (political clubs) as the instruments of the powers that be, and that's simply not the case. People involved in the Democratic clubs are very involved in politics and governance."